A doctor in Austria has claimed that face masks do not protect people from coronavirus and has promptly been fired by the hospital she worked at.
The incident took place in the Austrian capital Vienna, when the doctor said at a rally that “anyone who claims that face masks protect from something is lying”.
The doctor, named only as Konstantina R., has now been “released from duty”, according to Austrian newspaper Heute. She worked in the city of Graz, the capital city of the southern Austrian province of Styria, at the LKH University Hospital Graz.
As well as being a doctor, Konstantina R. is a councillor for the Socialist Party (SPO) in the municipality of Goessendorf in Styria, and a member of the “Initiative for evidence-based corona information”.
Konstantina R. has come under criticism due to her public statements – most recently at the rally in Vienna.
She reported how horrified she was about face masks in the underground, saying: “Anyone who claims that face masks protect from something is lying.”
She reportedly claimed that the masks are only there to humiliate people and to make people think that the other person is dangerous.
The Styrian Medical Association confirmed to local media the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against her.
The disciplinary lawyer, an independent judge who performs this function in the medical association, will review the information available and make a decision.
The punishment ranges from acquittal to being barred from practising medicine and being stricken from the list of doctors.
Gaby Schwarz, deputy general secretary and health spokeswoman for the Austrian People’s Party (OVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, the country’s chancellor, is quoted in Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung as saying: “The social-democratic councillor not only spreads falsehoods about the effect of mouth-nose protection, she also causes a scandal with a protest, in which opponents to a vaccine compare themselves with “Impfen macht frei” (‘Vaccines make one free’) posters with concentration camp prisoners.”
‘Arbeit macht frei’ (‘Work make one free’) is a slogan known for appearing on the entrance of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.
Schwarz added: “Such behaviour must not be tolerated in politics and requires consistent action by the SPO chairwoman and doctor Pamela Rendi-Wagner.”
She also reportedly said that an immediate resignation of the politician concerned and clear words from the SPO leader are the only conceivable consequence.
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